Modified Sports

Modified Sports   
Prepared by  Prepared by: Dr Ralph Richards and Christine May, Senior Research Consultants, Clearinghouse for Sport, Sport Australia (formerly Australian Sports Commission)
Reviewed by  Reviewed by network: Australian Sport Information Network (AUSPIN)
Last updated  Last updated: 27 March 2018
Please refer to the Clearinghouse for Sport disclaimer page for
more information concerning this content.

Community Sport Coaching
Sport Australia


Modified sports can take many forms but are generally designed to provide an introductory and/or more accessible offering to various potential participatory groups such as children, mature-age participants, persons with disability, time poor people, or for those who are simply looking for new physical activity and social engagement opportunities. 

Modified sports can also provide an opportunity to develop general movement skills and basic techniques. Modified equipment, facilities, and rules are commonly used because of the developmental stage (age, physical size, motor skill proficiency) of participants.

Key Messages 


Modified sports for children are intended to provide an attractive 'entry level' activity to a more traditional form of the sport.


Modified sports may take into account the developmental (physical, cognitive, and social) level and attributes of participants.


Modified sports may be designed to shorten or simplify the traditional format of competition, or enhance spectator appeal.

Traditionally, many modified sports have been targeted at children as part of the pathway to future engagement in specific sports. However, increasingly modified sports are targeting other sectors of the population and may suit people's needs throughout different life and activity stages. 

Modifying a sport allows the governing organisation to offer a single product (i.e. sport) in several different (but related) formats to suit the needs of a wide range of potential clients. The incentive to modify a sport to broaden its participation base or become more inclusive is also a characteristic that distinguishes a ‘sport’ from a ‘physical activity’. For example, a sport such as athletics has a modified feeder sport, Little Athletics; while the physical activity of jogging, for recreation or social sport purposes, has no set organisational structure or developmental pathway.  


Modified sports programs for children are designed to provide an introduction to the sports they represent. They allow novice participants, particularly young children, to experience a sporting environment that is interesting and fun. Sporting organisations recognise that the needs and abilities of children are different from adults and that standard rules and equipment may not be suitable for child participants. Children are also at a different developmental level in terms of their skill, strength, and cognitive ability to make decisions during play or interpret rules. Common sense, as well as the physical and mental developmental characteristics of children, makes it ‘good practice’ to modify the standard form of a sport to better suit the needs and abilities of children or specific groups of people.

Modifying a sport to suit children does not necessarily change the character of the sport (i.e. the skills and qualities that make it unique). In fact, modifying a sport can be an advantage in terms of developing the fundamental components of a sport; such as skill, fitness, tactics, and teamwork; within the context of a child’s capacity to perform. 

The pedagogy that underpins modified sports is often based on a philosophy that children will learn and become engaged in a physical activity if they are having fun while participating. Because many modified sports target skill acquisition, they may require a higher level of supervision and instruction than the 'parent sport'. Program delivery is usually facilitated by a ‘community coach’, school teacher, or parent volunteer; who may not have the same level of specific sport knowledge as a coach of the senior version of the sport. However, specific training in working with children, as well as an ability to make the activity appealing and fun, will allow instructors to achieve the intended outcomes of modified sports.

More information can be found in the Clearinghouse for Sport topic, Community Sport Coaching.

Modified sports programs may be delivered through clubs, schools, or community organisations; generally in collaboration with a National or State Sporting Organisation (NSOs and SSOs). Although modified sports have existed for many years, the AUSSIE Sport program (1985-1995) encouraged NSOs to develop suitable age-appropriate versions of their sport. Modified sports were also a key feature of the Australian Sports Commission's Active After-school Communities program (2005-2014). This process has continued with the ASC's current Sporting Schools program which launched in 2015 with a variety of resources available to assist coaches and teachers to deliver sport in schools effectively (see further information about the current program below). 

More information about the legacy of ASC's programs can be found in the Clearinghouse for Sport topics, AUSSIE Sport and Active After-school Communities.

Overall, modified sports provide a structured, age-appropriate, developmental skills appropriate way of introducing competitive sports, although the element of 'competition' may be de-emphasised. In practice, modified sports offer a fun and socially relevant activity that is designed to develop fundamental movement skills and encourage future participation in the targeted sport and a wide rage of sports in general.

More information about the role that fundamental movement skills has in sport can be found in the Clearinghouse for Sport topic, Physical Literacy and Sport.

Persons with disability 

Modifying a sport to make it more inclusive for persons with disability is a fundamental part of the Paralympic movement. Specific equipment can be developed to accommodate special needs and physical limitations, and allow full participation in a sport. In some sports, rules are modified to accommodate a participant’s ability to perform.

  • Sports Ability Resources. A suite of engaging and inclusive activities that have been developed by the ASC in alignment with the Australian Health and Physical Education Curriculum. The 28 available activities provide opportunities for all young Australians to be get involved and have fun through physical activity and sport, regardless of their ability. The resources provide step-by-step guidance for teachers, coaches and deliverers, including suggestions for ways to modify elements of each activity to ensure that every child is able to participate. 
More information about the specific barriers and facilitators for sport participation of people with a disability can be found in the Clearinghouse for Sport topic, Persons with Disability and Sport


The rules governing a sport can also be modified to be gender inclusive, such as mixed gender netball or volleyball competition. Gender inclusion is a common objective of many modified sports, particularly at junior level (i.e. usually 12 years and under) because minimal size and strength differences exist between young boys and girls.

More information about the issue of gender and integrating sport competition is available in the Clearinghouse for Sport, Sexuality and Gender Perspectives on Sport Ethics, topic. 

Social sport

Traditional forms of a sport are also 'modified' (sometimes creating a new sport, sometimes creating a variation of the original) to cater to the needs of participants, at any age. Many adults are 'time poor', so the modifications made to a sport allow participants to enjoy their experience, without a substantial time commitment. Modified sports may also reduce the cost of equipment and venue access.    

Modified sports can also be aimed at providing faster, less formal, and more social, formats that can be attractive to adults. These modified sports seek to engage people who are either time poor or enjoy being active but with less emphasis on competition.

More information about organised and non-organised sport can be found in the Clearinghouse for Sport topic, Social Sport.  

sporting schools logoSporting Schools, a national program aimed at bringing more sport-based activity to primary schools, became operational in July 2015. The program is managed by Sport Australia (formerly Australian Sports Commission) and engages primary schools and over 30 National Sporting Organisations (NSOs) and their networks. The program was expanded to include secondary schools in late 2017.

One of the program objectives is to convert children’s sporting interests into club-based settings and foster a lifelong interest in sport. A number of the Sporting Schools programs are modified sports developed by the NSO. Programs are based upon the ‘playing for life’ philosophy for children’s sport – having fun, getting active and developing movement skills. Funding is available to schools to engage quality coaches to deliver sporting opportunities before, during and after school hours. The Sporting Schools mission is to:

  • support sporting organisations in the delivery of great programs that are suitable for children;
  • provide schools with opportunities to get their students excited about sports through a diverse range of quality programs;
  • provide children with positive sporting experiences in the best possible way – by allowing them to participate in a fun and safe learning environment, and;
  • support schools, teachers and coaches by offering online resources and information.

Sporting Schools provides a variety of resources for coaches and teachers to enhance the delivery of sport in schools. This includes: 

  • Playing for Life Resources. The ASC has recently redeveloped the Playing for Life resources to align to the Australian Health and Physical Education Curriculum. They are designed for teachers to use every day - during class, at lunchtime or as part of their PE classes. There are over 140 activity cards. 
  • Sports Ability Resources. A suite of engaging and inclusive activities that have been developed by the ASC in alignment with the Australian Health and Physical Education Curriculum. The activities provide opportunities for all young Australians to be get involved and have fun through physical activity and sport, regardless of their ability. The resources provide step-by-step guidance for teachers, coaches and deliverers, including suggestions for ways to modify elements of each activity to ensure that every child is able to participate. There are 28 activities available. 
  • Yulunga: Traditional Indigenous Games. a selection of games and activities from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander societies all around Australia.  It provides an opportunity to learn about, appreciate and experience aspects of Indigenous culture. This resource is ideal for teaching the cross curriculum priority ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures'.
  • Other sport specific resources. 

Sporting Schools aims to engage more than 850,000 children across Australia in what will be the country’s largest school-based sport participation program. Sporting schools will also support the objectives of existing intra and inter-school sport programs and the physical education curriculum.

More information about the synergy of school sport, physical education and physical activity can be found in the Clearinghouse for Sport portfolio, Sport in Education.  

Many National Sporting Organisations (NSOs) have developed ‘branded’ junior or introductory programs that feature modifications to rules, facility requirements, and equipment.  In general, these programs feature elements of structured skill development, with an emphasis on having fun.  Competition is less important than social interaction and developing an affinity for the sport.

Modified sports programs have created new opportunities for NSOs to recruit sponsors targeting specific markets (e.g. youth, or their parents), as well as partnering with school and community-based organisations to deliver their programs beyond the sport’s club-based network. Many of these programs have integrated the sponsor’s brand, offering promotional incentives, product give-aways, competitions, and prizes. Increasingly, these programs have an online presence with websites specifically developed to attract participants and promote the sport’s suite of programs.

Archery iconArchery

  • OzBow Program. Designed as a Step by Step performance and reward based program for new members irrespective of age, gender, or equipment they are shooting. 

Athletics iconAthletics

  • Little Athletics. The mission of Little Athletics is to develop children of all abilities by promoting positive attitudes and a healthy lifestyle through family and community involvement in athletic activities. Standard track and field events are modified for distances and the equipment used is scaled down to suit children. The emphasis, particularly in the younger age groups, is on fun and participation.
  • Nitro Athletics. This is a modified competition format for athletics that puts a new spin on the traditional events. It is a team based competition with odd-distance events, relays, and unconventional formats. The concept merges ‘entertainment’ with ‘athletic performance’; modified rules serve to enhance the spectator appeal of the sport.
  • IAAF Nestlé Healthy Active Kids’ Athletics (Sporting Schools)

AFL iconAustralian Football

  • AFL Auskick. The Australian Football League’s (AFLs) Auskick program provides boys and girls with a fun and safe Australian Football experience that serves as an introduction to a lifetime of involvement in the game. Children learn fundamental motor skills; the basics of fitness conditioning, including how to train; and principles about the importance of health and nutrition.
  • AFL 9s. This is the AFL's official social version of the game. It's a fast, fun, free-flowing game that involves 9 players on each team playing on a smaller field. Best of all, it's 'touch football' with no tackling or bumping, making it suitable for everyone.
  • AFLX. Dubbed the AFL's answer to cricket's Twenty20 format, AFLX is designed to be a fast-paced game played on soccer-sized fields. It is due to launch in 2018 with three separate round-robin tournaments with six AFL clubs competing in each will be played at Adelaide's Hindmarsh Stadium, Etihad Stadium in Melbourne and Sydney's Allianz Stadium. [source: AFL adds AFLX to 2018 pre-season, AAP/SBS, (November 2017)]
  • AFL Sporting Schools program 


  • Shuttle-time (Sporting Schools). This program is designed to help teachers and students develop the skills, knowledge and confidence to plan and deliver safe and fun badminton lessons to children.


  • Aussie T-ball. Aussie T-Ball is Baseball Australia’s junior entry point program to introduce children to the game of baseball. T-Ball is a modified version of baseball for children. The game is a six-a-side, bat and ball game that’s all about being active and having fun.  
  • Aussie T-ball (Sporting Schools) 
  • Baseball5. A five-on-five, five-inning street version of Baseball/Softball that can be played on any surface. Features a smaller field, 5 players per team, and only requires a rubber ball to play. 


  • Aussie Hoops. Basketball Australia's national program for primary school kids uses a "game sense" approach where children learn basketball through playing lots of games and activities. Aussie Hoops is for boys and girls from ages 5-10.
  • Aussie Hoops (Sporting Schools) 


  • Jack Attack. Jack Attack is Bowls Australia's social-competitive version of bowls that can be enjoyed by new and experienced players. Designed to fill the current gap in the market between competitive (pennant) play and social/barefoot bowls.
  • Junior Jack Attack. This Bowls Australia participation product is designed to enable children to participate in an engaging format which is both fun and inclusive. Importantly, it can be conducted on a range of surfaces, including greens, carpets, concrete, wooden floors and just about anything else that is flat, which removes the restrictions of requiring a bowling green to introduce new audiences to the sport. The Junior Jack Attack initiative comes in the form of a kit that includes a carry bag, light-weight rubber bowls, jacks, cones, target score mat, stepping mats, and activity cards.
  • Junior Jack Attach (Sporting Schools). Bowls is a great sport for children of all ages and abilities and girls can compete against boys, making it an ideal activity for primary school age children; ability is no barrier for participation. Everyone can get involved (including teachers!) and enjoy the skill and precision of lawn bowls.


  • Box’Tag. This is a low-contact variation of boxing that focuses on speed, skill and scoring points. It uses an automated scoring system with sensors embedded in gloves and a vest worn by competitors. Box’Tag is an inclusive program that can be mixed gender competition with scoring restricted to the ‘target zone’ of the torso and upper arms, excluding the head of the opponent. 


  • In-2-Cricket. This is Cricket Australia’s entry level participation program for 5-8 year old boy and girls.  The program is dedicated to helping kids learn how to play cricket and have fun in a safe environment.  Activities are designed to be inclusive, action-packed and well organised to help children develop social skills, physical fitness, sportsmanship and basic cricket knowledge.
  • T20 Blast. This modified form of Twenty-20 Cricket is designed for children aged 7-12 years.  It’s an 8 player per side game played on a smaller ground with a reduced pitch length and playing time i.e. max. 90 minutes).
  • Cricket Australia Sporting Schools  


  • She Rides is a suite of introductory riding programs that focuses on building fitness, developing skills and creating a social riding community of women.
  • Lets Ride (Sporting Schools). This is a national junior riding program designed by Cycling Australia to be a fun learning experience for children. The program teaches them to ride safely by developing their knowledge, skills and confidence.


  • Pony Club. This program encourages young people to learn to ride, it is focused on riding instruction and fun. Pony Club has become the largest association of riders in the world.
  • Ready Set Trot (Sporting Schools). This early primary school playground skills-based program enables children to use their imagination to learn basic horse knowledge in a fun, physically active way, using traditional schoolyard group games; a horse is not required.


  • 7-A-Side. Traditionally a Paralympic sport, this modified competition has been adopted by some FFA state affiliates for 10-16 year-old competitors (both boys and girls divisions). The competition is played on half a pitch to encourage fast and precise play and maximise players' touch on the football.
  • Futsal. A high intensity, fast paced, dynamic, non-violent and enjoyable 5-a-side version of football that caters for both male and female participants. It is the only 5-a-side version of football officially recognised by FIFA, and is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. Played from under 6-open competitions. 
  • Social Football. Traditionally run in summer (as football is a winter sport), social football is a great way to enjoy playing with friends, family and work mates etc. in an environment that suits the differing needs of participants. Things such as match length, players per team and other modified rules exist throughout all social football competitions, so that you can find exactly what you’re after.
  • Fit Football. Developed by Football Federation Victoria, with support of VicHealth, Fit Football is a group based fitness session for people who don’t have the time or commitment to play competition football.
  • Walking Football [video]. Play the game you love but reduce the chances of injury. It's a great way to keep fit, learn skills, have fun and socialise all at the same time! 
  • AIA Vitality MiniRoos Kick-Off (Sporting Schools)  


  • MYGolf. Golf Australia programs for primary and secondary schools are endorsed by School Sport Australia and are designed for teachers, community coaches, PGA members and junior coordinators to deliver golf at school or a golf course. 
  • Swing Fit is the fun, healthy and social way for women to learn and develop golf skills.
  • MyGolf (Sporting Schools) 


  • AEROSchools. This is a Sport Aerobics participation program delivered within schools by teachers or qualified fitness instructors, supported by an event scheme that enables students to also become members of Gymnastics Australia. AEROSchools is aimed at children and youth (males and females) aged between 7 to 18 years of age attending government, private and denominational schools. AEROSchools requires no previous knowledge or experience on behalf of either the teacher or students and provides a sequential program of skill development over three separate levels of progression.
  • Team Gym. TeamGym combines parts of tumbling, mini tramp and dance to create an exciting team competition event. You get to flip, roll, jump and dance with your friends. TeamGym is a useful program for clubs to retain members in a team event which encourages individual skill development and team work. The program is split into novice, intermediate and advanced levels and has the potential to incorporate harder skills depending on coach and gymnast competencies.
  • LaunchPad. Gymnastics Australia's junior recreational gymnastics programs. LaunchPad's programs are all about fundamental movement. They've been especially designed to give children the opportunity to practice, develop, and most importantly, enjoy moving through a wide-range of activities that will help them to develop physically, socially and cognitively. The LaunchPad initiative involves three, development stage appropriate, programs: KinderGym, GymFun, GymSkills. 
  • Launchpad (Sporting Schools)


  • J-Ball. A brand new game played on a small court (43m x 22m), 3 x 10 minute periods, modified stick and ball, and no shin pads or mouth-guards required. The rules are designed to be easy, so participants can have fun in a safe and social setting.
  • Hockey Sixers. This modified game is for current or past players who want to have a run in a mid-week social competition to keep fit without the need for club training. Hockey Sixers is a fast, fun, free-flowing version of hockey played on a smaller field, with 6 players on each team. Best of all, the ball is always on the ground and in play.
  • HookIn2Hockey. This is Hockey Australia’s national recruitment program. Clubs and associations can now conduct Hookin2Hockey programs in schools in addition to their club or association venues. Promotional resources and coaching resources are provided. 
  • HookIn2Hockey (Sporting Schools)



  • Kick Start. To ensure safety, and so that junior riders know the rules of racing, Motorcycling Australia has created a Junior Coaching Program for ages 7 to 16 years.


  • NetSetGO. This is Netball Australia’s introductory program for netball. It has been developed to provide children from 5 to 10 years of age with the best possible learning and playing experience to develop a positive introduction to netball, ensuring enjoyment and continued participation. NetSetGO incorporates skill activities, minor games and modified matches in a fun and safe environment. The program can be delivered by clubs, associations, schools or community groups as accredited NetSetGO centres. 
  • Walking Netball. Netball NSW and the NSW Department of Family and Community Services have entered into a partnership to develop a program that modifies Netball to remove barriers to participation for older people to experience health and social benefits of the sport.
  • NetSetGO for Sporting Schools


  • OK-Go (Sporting Schools). This program is adapted for Years 2 through-6. The emphasis is on fitness in a fun way, as well as learning how to read a map. The program aligns with curriculum areas, such as geography (land forms, terrain etc.), social science and mathematics (distance estimation, pace counting, use of angles etc.).


rugby-leagueRugby League

  • Munchkin League. The National Rugby League has launched a pilot program that targets 3 – 5 year old boys and girls. The focus is on positive learning experiences through play; self-confidence and awareness, problem solving, respect and friendship, and developing motor skills. The program will incorporate elements of Rugby League, but is not specifically set up as a pathway into the game – the philosophy of the program is based upon fun, friendship and activity.
  • A Different League: Play Junior League. The National Rugby League has developed an infographic to explain how modifications to the game are applied at different age-groups (e.g. Under 6 & 7s, U8 & 9s, U10 & 11, U12s, U13s & 14s, and U15s+). Specific field dimensions (i.e. U 6 & 7s use a 40 x 20m field), number of players per side, and rules applicable to each age-group are highlighted.
  • PlayNRL In-School Program (Sporting Schools)

rugby-unionRugby Union

  • Try Rugby Kids Pathway. The aim of the TryRugby Kids Pathway for U6 to U12 players is to provide a series of age-specific modified rugby games. These modified rugby games progressively develop the individual skills, fitness and team work of all players in accordance with their physical maturity and understanding of the game. The Australian U18 Law Variations (for ages U13-U18) continue the progression from the Kid’s Pathway (U6 – U12) through to junior representative opportunities at local club, school and regional levels. The U19s-U21s is the point where junior players graduate to playing senior adult rugby laws, whilst still playing alongside and against players of the same age. 
  • VIVA7s. Is a tackle-less game. Modified rules to the game allow for various ages to play and have fun together in the same team.  
  • Game On (Sporting Schools) 


  • Tackers. This is Yachting Australia’s introductory, fun, games-based sailing program designed for kids aged 7 to 12.  The program is delivered at recognised YA Tackers Clubs. Kids don’t need to have any sailing experience and they don’t have to be a member of a club to participate. All the equipment, including the boats, is provided.
  • Tackers (Sporting Schools)

SkateboardingSkate Sports

  • SkateFIT. This program has been specifically designed to provide a smooth and safe progression through the skills that are required to get FIT, have fun, and become a competent and successful roller skater. The program includes both quad and inline skates and has been designed based on a wide variety of coaching methods and proven programs. The main aim of SkateFIT is to increase physical activity amongst skaters and the general population as a fun way of exercising in a social environment.

ski-and-snowboardSki and Snowboard

  • Little Shredders (Sporting Schools). This program introduces children to snow sports, with the aim of developing children’s knowledge, physical preparedness and confidence to go to the snow and experience Australia’s coolest sport.


  • Softball Batter Up. This is an eight session program for children 4 to 12 years of age to introduce them to the sport of softball. The program is offered at four different levels, introducing the fundamental skills of softball and ensuring maximum participation and enjoyment. The program has been designed to be flexible in its delivery, based upon the individual abilities and experience of participants. Softball Batter Up can be used as an introductory program for kids who have never played softball before, as a holiday program, or as training sessions for young softballers. 
  • Social 7s. Softball Australia introduced Social 7s in 2015, a new version of softball that is fast, fun and easy to play. Some of the variations that make Social 7s a fast, fun and easy game include: teams only require seven players; every player bats each inning; average game length of 50 minutes; high scoring – every base gained is worth a run; a new pitcher in each inning; a ‘strike zone mat’ is used – if the pitch lands on the mat, it is a strike; no umpire required – a game coordinator is responsible for scoring and adjudicating on close plays.
  • Softball Batter Up (Sporting Schools)


  • Hits & Giggles. Squash Australia’s innovative female-only learn to play program, affectionately known as ‘Hits & Giggles’.
  • Pop-up Squash. The concept of a ‘Pop Up Squash Shop’ brings the sport into the retail environment and captures the traditionally difficult to reach target groups in a new way. 
  • 20Twenty. Launched in 2016, 20Twenty is a timed competition format offered for both squash and racquetball where players will each get to play 20 minutes of singles and 20 minutes of doubles and finish at a set time.
  • OzSquash (Sporting Schools). This program consists of four or five ACHPER approved 45 minutes to one hour lessons that can easily be conducted by a local squash coach, a Physical Education teacher or generalist classroom teacher as part of the school curriculum.

surf-LifesavingSurf Life Saving

  • Nippers. Surf Life Saving’s junior program is perhaps the oldest ‘modified’ sport program in Australia. Nippers introduces children aged 5 to 13 to surf lifesaving. It is designed to be a fun outdoors activity that builds a child’s confidence, teaches valuable life-saving skills and knowledge of the surf environment. Every surf life saving club in Australia offers a nippers program.
  • Ready. Set. Rescue. (Sporting Schools) 


  • SurfGroms. The SurfGroms program is available exclusively through licensed Surfing Australia Surf Schools.  It has been designed for children ages 5-12 years in two categories, MiniGroms (ages 5-8) and SuperGroms (ages 9-12). The program offers a series of surf lessons that total 8-12 hours of coaching.
  • SurfGroms (Sporting Schools)


table-tennisTable Tennis

tenpin-BowlingTenpin Bowling

  • Bowl Patrol. A program designed specifically for children aged 6 – 12 to learn the basic skills of tenpin bowling.
  • Tenpin Bowling (Sporting Schools). This is a four week introductory program designed to bring tenpin bowling to schools, with a focus on learning the fundamental skills of the sport and having fun. The program can be delivered both in a school setting or in a bowling centre.


  • Tennis Hot Shots. This program is Tennis Australia’s official kids starter program for 10 years and under, it uses a smaller court and slower balls to teach children how to play tennis. 
  • Cardio Tennis. This is a modified form of tennis designed to improve adult fitness and offer greater social interaction among participants.
  • ANZ Tennis Hot Shots through Sporting Schools

touchTouch Football


  • TRIstars (kids triathlon). The TRYstars program addresses all FUNdamental movement skills, i.e. agility, balance, coordination, speed, running, jumping, gliding, buoyancy, throwing, catching, kicking and hitting. The program consists of up to 8 x action packed, game-based sessions. Each session may consist of 3 types of activities – a swim game, a ride game and a run game, with many sessions combining all three.
  • Triathlon (Sporting Schools)


  • Spikezone (mini volleyball). Volleyball Australia’s modified version of Volleyball and beach volleyball designed especially to increase participation opportunities for primary and early secondary school students aged between 8 and 13 years.A number of changes have been implemented, including: a smaller sized court, lower net height, a softer and lighter ball, fewer players on the court, and slightly modified rules.
  • Spikezone (Sporting Schools)

water_poloWater Polo

  • Flippa Ball. This form of the game is Water Polo Australia’s junior modified water polo program; making learning the skills and playing non-contact water polo fun, social, and safe for all. Flippa Ball has been introduced as part of the Sporting Schools program. Water Polo (Sporting Schools).

Other modified programs are run by sports organisations that may not have a program title or marketing strategy, but fit into the category of modified sport, these include:

  • Biathlon – The winter sport of biathlon (i.e. combined cross country skiing and shooting) has a junior program run in the summer that consists of mountain bike riding combined with laser-rifle target shooting. 
  • Flying Disk – The Australian Flying Disk Association administers its primary sport ‘Ultimate’ frisbee and lists a number of other official and unofficial sport derivatives. 

Where possible, direct links to full-text and online resources are provided. However, where links are not available, you may be able to access documents directly by searching our licenced full-text databases (note: user access restrictions apply). Alternatively, you can ask your institutional, university, or local library for assistance—or purchase documents directly from the publisher. You may also find the information you’re seeking by searching Google Scholar.


  • Sporting Schools: Playing for Life Resources. The ASC has recently redeveloped the Playing for Life resources to align to the Australian Health and Physical Education Curriculum. They are designed for teachers to use every day - during class, at lunchtime or as part of their PE classes. There are over 140 activity cards. 
  • Sports Ability Resources. A suite of engaging and inclusive activities that have been developed by the ASC in alignment with the Australian Health and Physical Education Curriculum. The activities provide opportunities for all young Australians to be get involved and have fun through physical activity and sport, regardless of their ability. The resources provide step-by-step guidance for teachers, coaches and deliverers, including suggestions for ways to modify elements of each activity to ensure that every child is able to participate. There are 28 activities available. 
  • Yulunga: Traditional Indigenous Games. a selection of games and activities from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander societies all around Australia.  It provides an opportunity to learn about, appreciate and experience aspects of Indigenous culture. This resource is ideal for teaching the cross curriculum priority ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures'.
  • AASC Playing for Life resources. The Australian Sports Commission developed a variety of resources to assist people to deliver Playing for Life sport activities as part of the Active After-Schools Communities (AASC) program including a Playing for Life resource kit; Playing for Life companion books for individual sports; and Sports coaching manuals and junior sports programs developed in partnership with National Sporting Organisations. Resources for Indigenous Games and Olympic sports activity cards were also developed. These resources remain useful for teachers, coaches and others interested in developing sport and physical activity skills for children and young adults and are available through the Australian Sport Publication Archive.


  • Establishing and maintaining a modified youth sport program: Lessons from Hotelling’s location game, Chalip L and Green C, Sociology of Sport Journal, Volume 15 (1998). Modified youth sport programs adapt rules, equipment, and contingencies to suit the needs and abilities of children. Research has shown that modified programs can broaden the base of participation, enhance children’s sporting experiences, and elevate the level of skill they attain. However, it has also been shown that modified programs struggle to retain their identity and gradually evolve back into traditional sports programs over time. The authors make a case for implementing modified sports programs outside the established sport club structure to avoid integration with traditional programs; for a modified sport program to establish itself, it must persuade prospective members that it occupies a preferred cultural space.
  • Validation of the Playing for Life Philosophy for children aged five to 12 years. Full Report, Australian Sports Commission, (May 2013) This philosophy is based on the game sense approach to coaching. The Active After-school Communities program [2005-2014] adopted the ‘Playing for Life’ philosophy to underpin its approach to delivering sport. Playing for Life advocates a fun and inclusive environment for the introduction of sport and other structured physical activities to primary-school aged children. It also ensures children of all abilities are engaged in the activities and have a positive and successful experience.
  • Teaching Games for Understanding. The Teaching Games for Understanding (TGfU) model evolved from research supported by the Association Internationale des Ecoles Superieures d’Education Physique (AIESEP). AIESEP, as an organisation, advocates for research into physical education and the implementation of ‘best practice’ teaching methodology. The TGfU model is based on game-based learning experiences that are designed to elicit the players’ tactical awareness and skill development from situated learning experiences enabled by the teacher or coach, using appropriate pedagogical skills and tools.
  • 'Teaching games for understanding', Pill S, Sports Coach, Volume 29, Number 2 (2006). The traditional approach to teaching sports focuses on teaching individual skills of the game before putting those skills into practice. The 'Game Sense' approach is one method which develops the broader meanings of sport and physical activity as it focuses on developing thinking through problem solving using physical activity.


  • Childhood Sports Participation and Adolescent Sport Profile, François Gallant, Jennifer L. O’Loughlin, Jennifer Brunet,, Pediatrics, Volume 140(6), (December 2017). This study demonstrates that children who specialize in a sport may increase the risk of sport nonparticipation in adolescence. It also highlights that children who do not participate in sports are unlikely to participate in adolescence. In line with current clinical recommendations and supported by these results, the authors recommend that to encourage long-term physical activity participation it is necessary to encourage children to participate in a variety of sports early on.
  • Coaching & Sport Science Review (PDF  - 4.29 MB), the official Tennis Coaching and Sport Science publication of the International Tennis Federation, Issue 60 (2013). This publication contains various articles on motor learning and performance improvement in tennis, with references to the effects on children’s tennis due to modified equipment, rules, and teaching techniques.
  • A comparative study of the traditional children's game of softball vs the modified rules of T-ball, Mazenco C and Gross J, New Zealand Journal of Health and Physical Education and Recreation, Volume 24, Issue 4 (1991). Most research suggests that adult competitive sport places too much stress on a child's physical, social and psychological development. This study compares various aspects of the organised game of softball to those of the modified version of T-ball on the skill, social and psychological development of pre-adolescent girls to determine how modified rules programs compared to traditional rules programs in terms of the wellbeing of children. Specifically, this paper makes comparisons of player's performance, anxiety, satisfaction and attitudes concerning parents, coaches and participation motivation. It was found that both T-ball and softball place children in an enjoyable environment. However, both parents and coaches involved in T-ball more closely exhibited the desired ideals for junior sports.
  • The effect of equipment scaling on children’s sport performance: the case for tennis(PDF  - 225 KB), Timmerman E, de Water J, Kachel K, Reid M, Farrow D and Savelsbergh G, Journal of Sports Sciences, published online (December 2014). This study examined the influence of scaling court-size and net height on children’s tennis performance. The results of this study showed that children hit more winners, more forced errors, played more volleys, struck more shots from a comfortable height and played in a more forward court position when the net was scaled. In addition, scaling both the court and net lead to a faster children’s game, more closely approximating what is typical in an adult game. Further, children enjoyed playing on the scaled court and modified net condition more than standard adult conditions. The authors suggest that optimising the scaling of net height may be as critical as other task constraints, such as racquet length or court-size, as it leads to a more engaging learning environment for children.
  • The effects of scaling tennis equipment on the forehand groundstroke performance of children (PDF  - 396 KB), Larson E and Guggenheimer J, Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, Volume 12 (2013). The purpose of this study was to determine the effects that low compression tennis balls and scaled tennis courts had on the forehand groundstroke performance of children. The participants of this study were found to have enhanced forehand groundstroke performance when using modified balls and court versus standard balls and court. Considering these findings, the authors suggest that children may gain more enjoyment of the game due to their enhanced success. Therefore, modifying the game of tennis may play a vital role in the continued enjoyment and progress of young tennis enthusiasts.
  • Low-cost and scalable classroom equipment to promote physical activity and improve education, McCrady-Spitzer S, Manohar C, Koepp G and Levine J, Journal of Physical Activity and Health, Volume 12, p1259-1263 (2015). This study investigated whether low-cost and scalable classroom equipment that was designed to promote children’s physical activity would contribute to their overall physical activity level. Fourteen (7 males and 7 females) first-grade students (mean age 6.9 years) used the ‘Active Classroom Equipment’ for 30 minutes each day throughout the school year. Their baseline physical activity prior to the intervention was 157 minutes/5-days (Monday through Friday), and following the intervention, 229 minutes/5-days (not including classroom activity time). In addition to the significant increase in overall physical activity, the student’s physical literacy skills improved, as measure by the ‘Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills’ test. The Active Classroom Equipment included an overhead ladder, a balance beam, spinners, rebounders (personal trampolines), hopscotch, and gym mats. The equipment cost approximated $500 to construct.
  • Participation in modified sports programs: A longitudinal study of children’s transition to club sport competition, Eime R, Casey M, Harvey J, Charity M, Young J and Payne W,BMC Public Health, Volume 15 (2015). Modified sport programs are designed as an introduction to sport for young children and provide an opportunity to engage in physical activity for health benefit. This longitudinal study identified trends in participation among children aged 4–12 years. The study explored the different outcomes; including continuation in the modified sports program, withdrawal from the program; or transition to club sport competition. Many of the participants who took part in modified sports programs, especially males, were very young (aged 4–6 years). The results of this study indicated that more children withdrew from their modified sport program rather than transitioning to club competition in that sport. Across all age groups, fewer than 25 % of females (n = 18,652) and fewer than 14 % of males (n = 18,058) transitioned from a modified sports program to a club sport competition within a 4-year period. Very few children continued their participation in a modified sports program for the full 4-year period of the study; two-thirds of those who withdrew did so after the first year. There were also age differences between when boys and girls started, withdrew, and transitioned from the modified sports programs. This study had a number of limitations, it was limited to only three Australian sports, albeit popular ones, and cannot necessarily be generalised to sports in general. Two of the three sports were dominated by males and one by females, although this imbalance did not limit the ability to identify sex differences in the patterns of participation. The results of this study suggest that there is a need for better links between modified programs and club sport competition programs if continuity of participation in a particular sport is to be maintained as children age. The inclusion of an intermediate program within the sport participation pathway, between modified sport and club sport competitions, may assist continuation of participation in a given sport.  


  • From a child’s view, adults find full-ice no fun, USA Ice Hockey (2014). USA Ice Hockey put adult players on a rink scaled to simulate what a child experiences when they play in a full size (adult) venue. It’s hard for adults to imagine or remember what it was really like trying to play the game on a full-sized rink. This experiment demonstrates the benefits of cross-ice hockey for skill development and fun among young players.
  • Let's see how the adults like it, Sussex County Football Association, UK (2013). A group of adults get to experience what it’s like to be one of the kids playing on a full size pitch, by using a supersized goal and field of play at St. George's Park.

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